On what would have been Chester's 45th birthday
Jack Vincent
17:43 20th March 2021

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Unless you were living under a rock or severely uncool, Linkin Park were probably your first favourite band (unless you were me, in which case it was the boyband Five, but Linkin Park were soon to follow). They were the sound of growing up, of youthful rebellion. They knew life was hard and Chester, Mike and the boys were there for you.

It didn’t hurt that a lot of the early stuff absolutely slapped as well, and while a lot of the post-Meteora stuff could be kind of shitty, there were still plenty of hidden gems waiting to be found. So, in honour of what would have been Chester Bennington’s 45th birthday on March 20th (R.I.P), here are 11 underrated Linkin Park songs:

 

'Given Up'

Minutes To Midnight is not a good album. It’s a massive slog and a failed attempt at a ‘mature’ album (the bane of any mainstream rock band). However, there is always an exception to the rule and the first proper track on the album, ‘Given Up’ is an absolute barn burner. Being more of a Hardcore Punk song then a Nu-Metal track, ‘Given Up’ exudes an energy and attitude the rest of the album sorely lacks and is a worthy addition to any Linkin Park playlist. 

 

'Points Of Authority'

The ‘Points Of Authority/99 Problems’ mash-up on the Jay-Z collab Collision Course is obviously a bonafide classic, however the original ‘Points Of Authority’ gets nowhere near as much love which is a travesty. It’s a definitive Linkin Park song, Mike Shinoda’s bars, Chester’s angsty vocals and an absolutely tasty Nu-Metal riff ensures ‘Points Of Authority’ a place as an essential Linkin Park track.

 

'Figure.09'

One thing that isn’t mentioned much is Linkin Park's influence on the much derided but incredibly underrated genre of Metalcore. ‘Figure.09’ off of Meteora is an excellent example of this. While the verses come across like a good version of ‘Break Stuff’ by Limp Bizkit, the closing breakdown is an absolute slap and ‘Figure.09' is worth listening to for that alone.

 

'All For Nothing'

The Hunting Party as a whole is incredibly underrated. Being a heavier, more experimental Post-Hardcore take on Linkin Park's signature sound, it is a unique album in an ever-changing discography. All For Nothing showcases Mike Shinoda’s underappreciated rapping and boasts an amazing chorus by Helmet’s Page Hamilton. It’s an example of Linkin Park trying something new while still staying true to their sound. 

 

'Victimized'

I wasn’t personally a huge fan of Living Things but the awesome pit starter ‘Victimized’ is a big exception. Clocking in at just under two minutes, 'Victimized’ is a punk inspired track that has enough energy for an album of it own. It’s an example of what happens when Linkin Park just let go and indulge their influences.

 

'Guilty All The Same'

About The Hunting Party Mike Shinoda told Rolling Stone "We're not 18-year-old kids making a loud record – we're 37-year-old adults making a loud record. And what makes a 37-year-old angry is different than what made us angry back in the day". While Minutes To Midnight was a failed attempt a maturity, The Hunting Party is a genuinely mature album in both songwriting and lyrical content, and ‘Guilty All The Same’ is a great example of this, with the opening build up allowing the song to breath and the verse by the legend Rakim being the icing on the cake. 

 

'Big Pimpin/Papercut'

Collision Course is a dope little mash-up EP. Jay-Z and Linkin Park is a match made in heaven and the way the different tracks synergise with each other on the record is proof of this. However while the ‘Numb/Encore’ and the ‘Points Of Authority/99 Problems' are perennial indie club favourites, ‘Big Pimpin/Papercut' doesn't get enough love. A classic Jay-Z beat with the awesome bars of 'Papercut' makes for a great song. Speaking of which...

 

'Papercut'

I think by definition, ‘Papercut’ is underrated. Despite it being a pretty big hit, people always talk about ’One Step Closer or ‘In The End’ rather then ‘Papercut’, which is a shame because it’s one of the best songs on the almost-perfect album that is Hybrid Theory. It’s a quintessential Linkin Park track, with most of the vocals being handled by Mike and an incredibly catchy chorus. It’s proof that despite all the branding, Linkin Park were incredibly competent pop songwriters. 

 

'Lying From You'

‘Lying From You’ shows the two sides of Linkin Park incredibly well. The track is more of a showcase for both Mike and Chester's vocals and interplay works amazingly throughout the track. A bit slower than usual for Meteora, but the change of pace works in the context of the album and it is definitely a track that is slept on. 

 

'Pushing Me Away'

Hybrid Theory closer ‘Pushing Me Away’ is a perfect encapsulation of what made the album so great. It’s like a checklist of everything that makes Linkin Park iconic; a catchy chorus, angsty lyrics and hip-hop flourishes are the name of the game and the track is a suitably emotional ending to a emotional album. 

 

'Don’t Stay'

Linkin Park’s biggest accomplishment may have been making the much derided rap and metal fusion of Nu-metal tasteful and a great example of this is on the first proper track of the seminal Meteora ‘Don’t Stay’. With that patented Linkin Park bounce and catchy choruses coupled with the endearing (if slightly cringey) angst Linkin Park were known for, ‘Don’t Stay’ is definitely an underappreciated track. 

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